Hallelujah! Things are going well – or, at least, well enough. You can finally exhale! Repeat orders from your existing customers are getting you close enough to your monthly quota to keep your sales manager off your back. You are relatively happy with the predictable amount of your monthly commission checks. Why risk changing what’s working for you? After all, life is good now… right?
Actually, you might not want to “get too comfortable” quite yet. Your best customers are, right now, at the top of your competitors’ prospect lists. New products, services, and technologies are hitting the market that is about to transform your world. Decision makers with whom you’ve built up great relationships are getting ready to change positions, move on to new companies, or retire. Things in your territory could change overnight, and, if the past is any indication, they probably will. If you kick back now and take the next quarter off for that long professional nap you’ve been promising yourself, you will find that the inevitable task of making sense of the world you wake up to will be very difficult indeed.
You can’t afford to cling to the status quo. It’s an illusion, anyway. Everything’s actually changing, and that means you might as well change, too, if you plan to keep up. If change is inevitable, and it is, why not find a way to change for the better? To paraphrase Bob Dylan: You are either growing as a salesperson, or you are dying. There is no in between. Don’t get left behind!
If you want to keep growing, you’ll need to take some risks. What, exactly will you have to risk? First, and foremost, you will have to risk the habit of “coasting” on your past achievements. That’s called complacency, and it’s a bad destination for a salesperson – or any other kind of person. Living in complacency full-time is, paradoxically enough, the biggest risk of all.
None of the other “risks” you are likely to experience as a salesperson – the gatekeeper who pushes you away, the prospect who tunes out of a great presentation – are as threatening in the long term as complacency, though some may bruise your ego. However, if you resolve to learn from as many of your experiences as possible, you will become stronger with every experience, and y our life will become richer.
If you’re not willing to take a risk, you’re not going to move forward from where you are. So be willing to take the risk of reaching for something you’re not yet sure of, something that you think might just be better than what you’ve got now. Even if you don’t get exactly the results you’re after, you will learn a lesson that will help you next time around – and you will grow.
Excerpt from: Sandler's 49 Rules